‘Chill’ teens perform with enthusiasm and enjoyment

Share Canberra's trusted news:
Fearghus Moore as dorky teen Jeremy, with Jemima Phillips as his love interest Christine in “Be More Chill”.

Musical theatre / “Be More Chill”. Book by Joe Tracz. Music and lyrics by Joe Iconis. Directed by Glynis Stokes. Budding Entertainment, Gungahlin College Theatre to March 27. Reviewed by LEN POWER.

“BE More Chill” is a musical with original music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, and a book by Joe Tracz, based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Ned Vizzini. 

A cast recording of the original regional American production entered the Billboard Cast Album chart Top 10 in 2017, leading to the show getting an Off-Broadway production in 2018. Subsequently, a Broadway production opened in March 2019 and clocked up 177 performances.

The show has been described as “a rocking sci-fi musical about growing up, high school, and what we will do to get what we want”. 

An average, dorky teenager, Jeremy, discovers a super-computer, the SQIP, that promises him everything he desires. As his wishes come true, the super-computer starts to take control of everything he says and does. 

There are two casts for this production. The “Red” cast, reviewed here, performed on opening night and will alternate with the “Green” cast for subsequent performances.

The casts are made up mostly of school-aged teenagers and many are doing their first-ever show outside of school.

“Be More Chill”, Fearghus Moore as Jeremy.

On a bare stage with minimal set pieces, director Glynis Stokes has produced a highly enjoyable show with a large, enthusiastic cast of young performers in colourful costumes. The principal players bring a reality to their roles and sing the tuneful rock score very well.

The huge amount of choreography by Sally Taylor and Zoe Twist is performed by the large chorus with discipline and obvious enjoyment. The songs, “The Pitiful Children” and the finale, “Voices In My Head” were standouts.

In the marathon lead role of Jeremy, Fearghus Moore gives an endearing performance, acting and singing confidently. Jemima Phillips as Jeremy’s love interest, Christine, also gives a fine singing and acting performance.

Andre Le sings the best dong in the show.

The best song in the show, “Michael in the Bathroom” is sung by Andre Le who plays the troubled best friend of Jeremy. Le’s performance of this song is a showstopper, revealing a very talented young man with strong acting and singing ability.

Musical directors, Tara Davidson and Sebastian Winter, have done excellent work with the cast, obtaining fine singing from everyone. Sound balance between the singers and the recorded music needs a slight adjustment, as now and then it’s hard to hear lyrics clearly.

This is an entertaining show that has been well-produced and performed. They may all be young performers just starting out, but at the performance I saw, they showed that they all deserved to be on that stage.

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep citynews.com.au free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Previous articleExperts make Canberra’s central district home 
Next articleDriver flees crash that damaged pedestrian handrail 

Leave a Reply